Got some comments on my 475 in the 'How did the woods treat you this year?' thread and didn't want to hijack it.
I've wanted a Linebaugh-built gun since I read Ross Seyfried's first article on the 500 Linebaugh as a kid in 1986. Fast forward 16 years, and I made a trip to Cody to attend one of John Linebaugh's seminars where I got my first chance to shoot the big guns, and meet some folks I now count among my closest friends. By the end of that weekend, it was a foregone conclusion that I would own a big bore Ruger conversion. For reasons I no longer remember, I decided if I was going to go big, I was going all the way. Instead of a 500 Linebaugh, I wanted a 500 Linebaugh Long (aka 500 Maximum). (This was years before the advent of the 500 S&W, and unlike that monstrous gun, this can comfortably be carried in a belt holster.) John charges a huge premium for maximums, mostly because he doesn't like to build them, and his backlog was long enough I wouldn't have it in time for the next year's event.
Instead, I went with gunsmith David Clements, who charged the same for 5-shot conversions whether they were done on the regular Blackhawk or the Maximum frame, and was quoting a 6-month backlog. 6 months turned into closer to 9, but with the help of craftsmen Doug Turnbull (who did the case colors,) and Scott Kolar (who made the exhibition grade French walnut grips,) Dave built me an absolutely gorgeous one-of-a-kind custom. I've put close to 3000 rounds through that gun, and it is one of the very last I would ever let go.
I don't regret going with another gunsmith on the 500, but I still wanted a Linebaugh-built gun. Spending time with John over the next few years cemented that desire, and in June 2008, John and I shook hands on a deal for a 475. While the 500 was a functional work of art, this was to be a no-frills, bullet-proof, working gun -- stainless steel, fixed sights, and micarta grips. He was far enough behind, he wouldn't take my base gun or deposit, but would call when he was ready to build it. I waited almost a year and a half for that call. When it finally came, I quickly put a package in the mail, and John built the gun in a little less than six months. And then I waited another year for his son Dustin to finish the ivory micarta grips. Nearly 25 years after the flame was lit, in March of 2011, I finally owned a Linebaugh-built big bore.
And the really cool thing about this gun is something John had only done twice before, for close friends:
Yes, it's a 6-shot 475. Full-power loads in the 475 can be brutal on the shooter; and, with the possible exception of big bears, are far more than is needed for anything in North America. (Besides, I've got the 500 Long if I really need more power.) While capable of much more, this gun was designed around the concept of a 400-420 grain bullet at 1000-1100 fps. Those loads give up very little real-world performance to top-end loads and are much kinder to the shooter. It couldn't have turned out better.